India and USA has signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement.
Key features of LEMOA agreement are:
• LEMOA formalises an ad-hoc arrangement already in practice and furthers India-US military-to-military cooperation. The agreement provides access to each other's military facilities for fuelling and logistic support on a reimbursable basis.
• The core of both agreements is a regularization of the ability of naval ships and aircraft of both countries to dock in each other's bases for taking on supplies like fuel. Indian and US naval ships and aircraft have often used each other's naval and air bases before. Base usage and taking on supplies will now be much easier for naval ships and aircraft under both flags.
• These activities are limited to joint military exercises, training, port calls and humanitarian missions and other military activities that both sides mutually agree to undertake.
• It does not give the US automatic access to Indian military bases or to logistical support, but simply smoothen existing practices.
• The advantage over the current situation is precisely following: Though the US does currently use Indian military bases and logistics during joint military exercises - this is managed on a case-by-case basis, which is simply more cumbersome. LEMOA does not necessarily give anything that the US does not already get, but it makes the process more regularised.
• LEMOA helps grease the wheels on the bureaucracy underlying defence collaboration, including reimbursements for military logistics sharing.
Significance of LEMOA
• India will be the main beneficiary. While Indian naval ships and aircraft increasingly venture further away from their home, India has no bases and in some cases not even agreements with foreign governments along the Atlantic and Pacific. The US navy and air force, on the other hand, has a global network which is now accessible to Indian ships and aircrafts.
• US warships and aircraft now have additional sites to use in India, but they already have many bases around the region at their disposal.
• Indian arrangements with the US for such access open up new options in beefing up India's logistics capacity for missions in the Indian Ocean.
• In one of the more concrete benefits, LEMOA strengthens India's outreach to areas that were not typically within its reach. With one aircraft carrier in operations, India's capacity to undertake far sea operations has been fairly limited. Signing LEMOA opens up opportunities such as gaining access to US military bases in Djibouti and Diego Garcia.